Trade News Updates – April 2021
As the country continues to fight increasing COVID-19 cases with more vaccinations, global trade is accelerating at an unprecedented rate. With the Suez Canal blockage, supply chains have been under even further pressure with port delays mounting across the world. Meanwhile, the Biden administration is beginning to show its stance on Section 301 and has made key appointments to trade-oriented positions.
Joint Statement of the European Union and the United States on the Large Civil Aircraft WTO Disputes
The European Union and the United States today agreed on the mutual suspension for four months of the tariffs related to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Aircraft disputes. The suspension will cover all tariffs both on aircraft as well as on non-aircraft products, and will become effective as soon as the internal procedures on both sides are completed.
This will allow the EU and the US to ease the burden on their industries and workers and focus efforts towards resolving these long running disputes at the WTO.
The EU and the US are committed to reach a comprehensive and durable negotiated solution to the Aircraft disputes. Key elements of a negotiated solution will include disciplines on future support in this sector, outstanding support measures, monitoring and enforcement, and addressing the trade distortive practices of and challenges posed by new entrants to the sector from non-market economies, such as China.
These steps signal the determination of both sides to embark on a fresh start in the relationship.
FR Notice 3/16/21 https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-03-16/pdf/2021-05354.pdf
FR Notice 3/11/12 https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-03-11/pdf/2021-05035.pdf
USTR Comment Period for Marking Requirement for Hong Kong
On October 30, 2020, Hong Kong, China, requested consultations with the United States concerning certain measures affecting marks of origin with respect to imported goods produced in Hong Kong, China. You can find the consultation request at www.wto.org in a document designated as WT/DS597/1. The United States and Hong Kong, China, held consultations on November 24, 2020. On January 14, 2021, Hong Kong, China, made its request to the WTO to establish a WTO dispute settlement panel. On February 22, 2021, the WTO established a dispute settlement panel to examine Hong Kong, China’s complaint.
Read more here.
Senate Confirms Katherine Tai as USTR
Katherine Tai was confirmed as President Biden’s U.S. trade representative last month, putting a career government lawyer in charge of a trade policy that aims to maintain a tough stance on China and protect U.S. jobs. Ms. Tai was confirmed by a 98-0 vote, reflecting strong support from both business and labor; she is well-known in Washington, first as a lawyer for the Office of the U.S Trade Representative and most recently as chief trade counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee.
More on Ms. Tai’s confirmation here.
USTR Announces Next Steps of Section 301 Digital Services Taxes Investigations
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) today announced the next steps in its Section 301 investigations of Digital Service Taxes (DSTs) adopted or under consideration by ten U.S. trading partners. In January, USTR found that the DSTs adopted by Austria, India, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom were subject to action under Section 301 because they discriminated against U.S. digital companies, were inconsistent with principles of international taxation, and burdened U.S. companies. USTR is proceeding with the public notice and comment process on possible trade actions to preserve procedural options before the conclusion of the statutory one-year time period for completing the investigations.
Read more here.
CBP Extends Travel Restrictions for Northern and Southern Borders
CBP extended its travel restrictions on the northern and southern borders through April 21, it said in two notices. The travel bans do not apply to cargo, and exempt from crossing the border from Canada or Mexico to work in the U.S.